Columbus Clippers Sweep Pawtucket, Win Streak at 6
The Columbus Clippers finished off their latest home stand with a three-game sweep of the Pawtucket Red Sox; it was the first time this season that Pawtucket has been swept in a series. The margin of victory was also impressive as the Clippers only allowed only Pawtucket three runs in 27 innings of baseball at Huntington Park.
Shaun Marcum ran his record to 4-0 as he tossed a four-hit shutout over eight innings to help the Columbus Clippers defeat the Pawtucket Red Sox 7-0 to open the three-game series at Huntington Park; it was the Clippers fourth win in a row. Marcum, who never faced more than four batters in an inning, did not issue a walk and struck out eight, Dustin Molleken pitched the ninth inning.
Pawtucket came to Columbus tied for the best record in the International league with Durham at 18-12, the Paw Sox finished a three-game sweep of the Mud Hens in Toledo prior to their loss in Columbus.
Clippers catcher Adam Moore continued to swing a very hot bat, going two-for-four with two RBI in the game. Moore is hitting .409 over his last six games.
The Clippers only produced six hits in the game, but they were timely. One-out walks to Tyler Holt and Jesus Aguilar in bottom of the first inning gave Jerry Sands the opportunity to drive in runs. The Clippers DH didn’t disappoint, slamming his second home run of the season over the center field wall, to give Columbus a 3-0 lead.
The Clippers made it 5-0 in the bottom of the second inning as Moore, again, led the offense with his seventh double of the season. Michael Martinez hit a ground ball to third that third baseman Garin Cecchini threw away allowing Moore to score from second. Martinez scored on Lindor’s fifth double of the season.
In the eighth the Paw Sox reliever, Jess Todd, walked the bases loaded for Moore, who lashed a double into left field scoring the Clippers final two runs.
Game two saw the Clippers win their fifth in a row, 3-2 in ten innings. Starting pitching dominated early in the game, although neither starter factored in the decision. The game’s first run wasn’t scored until the bottom of the sixth.
Clippers first baseman Jesus Aguilar got things started in the bottom of the sixth inning when he sent a two-out offering off Paw Sox starter Brian Johnson over the left field wall. The solo shot was Aguilar’s fifth of the season and gave Columbus a 1-0 lead.
Pawtucket came right back in the top of the seventh inning to load the bases with no outs. Clippers starter Nick Maronde was able to get the first out of the inning on a strikeout before he was lifted for reliever Jeff Manship.
Manship allowed two runs to score, the first on a sacrifice fly, the other on a Jemile Weeks double. Pawtucket took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, things then went south for the Paw Sox.
Jerry Sands reached second base when his fly ball to center field dropped in due to a near collision between center fielder Quintin Berry and right fielder Rusney Castillo. Sands took a huge gamble when he advanced to third on a fly out to center field. Sands ultimately scored on Audy Ciriaco’s sacrifice fly to right field to tie the game at 2-2.
Pawtucket felt Sands left early and appealed, when the appeal was denied the argument that ensued caused the ejection of Paw Sox manager Kevin Boles.
Austin Adams came on in the top of the tenth inning and retired the Paw Sox 1-2-3.
Following the blown save, Heath Hembree came out for the tenth inning and continued to struggle. The closer gave up a leadoff double to Michael Martinez then botched a throw to third base on a Francisco Lindor sacrifice bunt. That set the stage for Tyler Holt who belted a game winning hit to the warning track in right field. Hembree, who had not allowed a run in nine previous appearances, was the loser. Adam got the win for the Clippers.
Sunday’s series finale was more of the same for Columbus as the Clippers used solid pitching to defeat Pawtucket 4-1 and sweep the three-game series. Pitching was what did the Paw Sox in as Columbus starter Toru Murata went seven innings and gave up four hits, two walks and struck out six without allowing a run in the win.
Pawtucket starter Henry Owens did not allow a hit in his four innings of work; he did however walk six batters and was charged with three earned runs and the loss.
Columbus scored all they would need in the top of the fifth inning. Owens walked Carlos Moncrief and Alex Lavisky before hitting Ryan Rohlinger with a pitch to load the bases. Next he walked in a run after putting Francisco Lindor on base.
Noe Ramirez came out of the bullpen and allowed a pair of runs to score on a sacrifice fly by Jesus Aguilar and a single off the bat of Sands. The Clippers had a 3-0 lead.
Lindor opened the seventh with a double and moved to third on a Michael Martinez sacrifice bunt. Sands then singled Lindor home with his second RBI of the game.
Deven Marrero helped Pawtucket avoid the shutout when he crushed a ball over the wall in right center off C.C Lee to make the score 4-1.
With the win Murata moves to 2-0 on the season and Owens drops to 2-2. Shawn Armstrong earned the save after getting three strikeouts in the ninth.
Columbus moved to within a half-game of Indianapolis in the International League West, while the Paw Sox still hold a one game edge over Rochester in the International League North.
Columbus goes to Lehigh Valley and Pawtucket for seven games and Pawtucket heads home to face Indianapolis and Columbus following a 3-3 road trip.
By Mike Tanchevski